I once lived in Brussels and in the apartment were many Javanese shadow puppets. I coveted them, they were exquisite – pure beautiful objects. The woman who owned them, had them as they reminded her of when she used to live and work in Java. She would say that without the memories they were useless and meaningless. If I bought one they would just become stuff, mere decoration.
I struggled with this for a long time.
I understood the idea of having a connection and only surrounding yourself with objects that meant something to you. I think that everything I own has a story.
But it also misses the idea of loving an object for it’s own sheer beauty. Something that would make you happy whenever you looked at it. I still haven’t resolved this but the idea is etched deep and I always question my connection with objects that I buy. If I can celebrate it’s beauty and feel it completely connects with my aesthetic – does it become part of my story?
All my shopping tends to happen at flea markets, brocantes, second hand shops and taking a delight in unearthing overlooked treasures is all part of the thrill; you never know what you will find. My prize is often a simple humble object when we return looking at our wares. I don’t value expense but aesthetics with a side of patina speaks my language.
This search is a highly personal viewpoint, each visitor to a flea market finds different treasures. The search is where we can each find our own space and identity to create our own home both physically and mentally.
Postscript – the irony is that now, whenever I see Javanese shadow puppets, I am immediately drawn back to my Brussel’s life and the beautiful Art Deco flat we all shared. My memories of faces, people, places, stories are all contained in the shadow of a puppet.
Postscript postscript – I found these musings, on my phone, whilst sitting in a cafe (I had arrived early for a meeting). I sat tidying up my thoughts and realising that my concepts have always been there I just need to share them. Then I popped to the loo and there in the bathroom was the card board shadow puppets in the photograph! So I took a sneaky photo!
I love synchronicity – stars and puppets aligning last week…